Construction work at the 390MW Dul Hasti hydro project in India’s Kashmir state, has been resumed by the country’s National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). NHPC has appointed an Indian contractor to complete the remaining civil works in the much delayed project.

In 1992, DSB, a French consortium led by Cegelec, pulled out of the site after a French engineer was kidnapped by militants. Subsequently, the consortium’s contract was terminated with NHPC after agreeing to bear the cost overruns due to the delay.

The Dul Hasti project is located in a remote area of Kashmir which is reported to be affected by frequent law and order problems caused by militants and inclement weather. NHPC expects to complete the work in three years.

Meanwhile, in the state of Kerala in south India, a co-operative called the Palakkad Small Hydro Power Corporation Ltd (PSHPCL), is undertaking the 2.4MW Meenvallom project. A part of the estimated US$1.6M project cost is to be raised by an issue of shares locally. The major portion of the funds will be obtained from the Indian Renewable Energy Develop-ment Agency as a soft loan at 5% interest.

PSHPCL expects to develop other small hydro projects in Kerala, for which 11 potential sites have already been identified in the district. Techno-economic feasibility studies of these sites are currently under way.

Other hydro developments in India include the government’s consideration of levying a surcharge on the existing hydro tariff. This would be used to offset pre-bid costs incurred by the government in getting hydro projects up to bid stage.

Funds raised by the tariff surcharge would be utilised for constructing access roads and bridges etc to hydro sites, as well as preparing pre-bid packages before the prospective developers are invited to bid.

India proposes to add substantial hydro capacity in the near future. A majority of the new additions are to be located in the northeastern and northern regions of the country, where access to sites is relatively poor. The government hopes to recover at least part of the cost of providing this access by way of the tariff surcharges.